Google has been hit with criticism of its employment statistic that only 17 percent of its technology workforce is comprised of women. In response to this deficit Google has announced its plan to spend $50 million over the next three years on a new program called “Made With Code,” according to Tech Crunch today.
The question that is being asked is how will Google change its hiring process to bring more women into its tech workforce? There is a problem that is more blatant and goes deeper than hiring practices. The U.S. ranks 48 in the world in math and science. Its STEM ratio which is Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics is driven by that low score according to the World Economic Forum.
This deplorably low standing in the math and science fields are leading schools, local community programs and the U.S. government to realize how weak the country is in defending itself from cyberattacks. Schools are now focused on computer science training and parents are sending their daughters off to summer camps to learn coding. It is a skill that translates throughout education and life since the technology world is moving faster into the future of the Internet of Things.
There are national and local programs advancing the skillset for young people due to the CyberPatriot National Youth Cup held annually for the top scoring students in a cyber security computer contest. This Youth Cyber Education Program was created by the Air Force Association and developed to inspire high school students toward careers in cyber security or other STEM fields. The STEM discipline is regarded as critical to our nation’s future.
The 2014 Cyber Patriot National high school team winners in the open division are team “Azure,” North Hollywood High School, North Hollywood, California. The middle school division national championship was won by “Cyber Knights,” Beach Cities Cadet Squadron, San Pedro, Ca.
This past week, ESET North America division, a security company that provides its clients with anti-virus and phishing protection, co- sponsored with Securing Our eCity Foundation a Cyber Boot Camp for the top three winning teams of the San Diego Mayors’ Cyber Cup.
The award winning teams spent June 16-20 at ESET San Diego headquarters in a competition for defending their computer site against cyberattacks and was challenged to hack into the ESET training computer site. Canyon Crest High School of San Diego won and their team member Jonathan Luck was the champion high scorer of the CBC.
It was also the first year in its six years of competition that two young women were among the winning teams. Chloe Chrisostomo of Mira Mesa High School set out to find an activity to complement her personal life. Learning how to secure computers is now an essential ability that everyone must know according to Chloe. “The atmosphere in which I learned cyber security interested me very much, and the technicalities of it influenced me to pursue a career in cyber security,” said Chloe in an exclusive interview with the San Diego Examiner. She is also a member of the Air Force ROTC.
The investment by Google will be well spent. According to Liz Fraumann, executive director of Securing Our eCity and co-sponsor of the ESET Cyber Boot Camp, the problem begins with PACD or the “person at the computer desk.” It is the "number one issue" of why there is a cyber security problem and computer systems at risk. "It is the person at the keyboard controlling phishing and opening a computer system up to virus attempts," stated Liz in an interview with the San Diego Examiner.
Google has a video posted that explains its “Made With Code” program and is a welcome addition to bring the issue of STEM to the forefront. The program was launched in New York last Thursday night at its event hosted by Chelsea Clinton.